A shock poll has given the 'Yes' camp the lead in the Scottish independence referendum battle for the first time, amid signs of infighting among senior figures backing the union.
The YouGov research for the Sunday Times found 51% of Scots supported independence, compared to 49% who wanted to remain in the UK.
The results are the latest evidence of a dramatic surge for the campaign headed by First Minister Alex Salmond, which has seen the gap between the sides – once regularly in double digits – vanish in a matter of months.
Rumours about the latest YouGov findings have been swirling for days. The firm has charted a remarkable turnaround for Yes, which has seen them recover from a 22-point deficit in just one month.
The poll shows a four point increase in support for Yes from the last YouGov poll published earlier this week.
The No camp were leading by 14 points in mid-August and 22 points early last month, when undecided voters were excluded.
Alistair Darling, leader of the pro-Union Better Together campaign, said the poll “must now serve as a wake-up call to anyone who thought the referendum result was a foregone conclusion”.
The two-point gap is within the margin of error for such polls, meaning the contest, which climaxes on September 18 is effectively too close to call.
A second poll, carried out by Panelbase for Yes Scotland between September 2 and 6, found that No is leading 52% to 48% when undecided voters are excluded.
Meanwhile Labour leader Ed Miliband raised the prospect of manned border posts being introduced if Scotland votes to go independent.
In an interview with the Scottish Mail on Sunday, he insisted: ’If you don’t want borders, vote to stay in the United Kingdom.“
A spokesman for Mr Miliband added: “The last time I looked there were two sides to the border – and we would be in charge of one of them. It would be up to us, not Mr Salmond, to secure our northern border.”